Oh no...not again. CQJP - Oct.

This is the perfect block to follow Morris the Mover".  One of the things he loves to move are the area rugs I have every where...  They are every where because Molly is terrified of walking on linoleum and just won't... The  rugs are her path to navigate... There is an 8' runner in the kitchen which is Molly's lifeline to the front door or the back of the house...
Of course this is the rug that Morris loves to move.  He not only has to drag it the length of the kitchen, he has to get it around a corner and through a doorway..  He tugs and pulls, and grunts and groans until he succeeds in doing it..
And when he finally gets it in the living room he usually collapses... It is indeed a big undertaking for a small dog and it takes him about 20 minutes to it.

Occasionally Molly gets stranded in the kitchen because her escape rug has slipped our of her line of vision... I either have to put a rug down for her or carry her... She would stay there hours stranded. In fact she has when I've been busy painting or sewing somewhere else and not aware of her plight.

I've lots of pictures of Morris and the big runner but it was quite by accident that I caught both him after moving the rug and Molly starting to panic....  You know she is thinking "Oh no...not again.  That *#@%^ Morris."


Judgment error works out for the best!

Well I finished the September CQJP right on time..." Morris the Mover"  When I did the central image I made it a little too large and then adding the ribbon trim and blue trim really made it too large... I suddenly realized there was very little room left for the motifs from his stash....and even less room for seam treatments. So I had to embroider the motifs quite small to get enough on the block...  As it turns out I really like them small.  They are just about the same size as the elements in the main image... I hadn't planned it that way but all's well that ends well. So you must find a hammer, leash, slipper, pull toy, bowl,. plush square and his treat ball...

In all fairness to Morris I must confess to taking some artistic license with this block's main image.  In actuality his daily stash was more like this.  But I took several of his stash pictures and combined them using photoshop...


Golden Giveaway and Agility - Phase One

My very last word  on my Golden Adventure with Christmas Trims is GIVEAWAY.... I am giving away TWO packages of golden goodies.  Each package  includes a wide variety of gold including fabric, tulle, ribbon, braid, cording, lace and even a snippet of my goldwork sari..  If you think you would like to experiment with things in this packet, all you have to do is leave your name... I'll choose two winners next Wednesday evening.

I finished the A-Ramp (that's agility talk).  I left it at a low angle because I want to give it another coat of paint today and give Morris a chance to get used to it...  He loves it and zips back and forth repeatedly - a one act wonder.... But today I'll build at least one hurdle and hopefully the tunnel will come.  This is a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood with a 2x4 frame so it's VERY heavy and not something I can move around without help... I'll have to wait for my handy helper next week to steepen the the angle.


Need input on non-political support issue!!!

Morris's agility course is progressing nicely.  We're painting the A-Ramp "Passion Grape" today... but there is still the support issue..  Over the years I have tried umpteen bras only to find them unbearable as well as unwearable.  I finally settled on a sports bra that was the least offensive but it has been discontinued and the ones I have left have been washed a zillion times...  and if I do need one I have to raid Morris's bed as he loves to nap with my bras...

If you have a way of coping with your endowment that is comfortable.... PLEASE email me brand and  style number.  As of now I'm ordering this one from the  Sunday paper supplement.  The ad is  wrinkled because I threw it away but smoothed it out and decided I'll try anything at this point in time.  Of course we all know if it is an ad it must be true....it's in print after all..  But it does say "no hooks, no underwire, no shoulder pain, no rolling, no chafing, no back fat, no saggy bust and no straps to adjust."  And on a positive note it says "super lift, super support. super comfort, seamless cups and gorgeous style."  Now would they lie?????  Waiting to hear from somebody in case they would....

And remember the two plum tarts from last Thursday...gone and two more in the oven as I'm typing... For those who emailed for the recipe the filling is:
1 c. sugar
1c. sour cream
1 beaten egg
3 T. flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix well and put in tart shell... You can artfully arrange plums (apples or pears) or just dice them and put on top of filling.... I top with a little stuesel mix and a few sliced almonds.  Bake 40 min. at 400.  I also like to add 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spice along with the cinnamon...  I should mention that this recipe is from a marvelous little cookbook I purchased years and year ago entitled.... "Recipes from the heirs and relatives Nikolaus Schwartz and Anna Steyer."


Ten gold blocks with Christmas trims! And my favorite is?

Here they are...all ten over the last eight months.  Each one had a different objective and different materials and techniques I wanted to try... The whole project was an experiment and, all in all, I'm happy with them.   But some were more successful than others. I tried to pick a favorite but could only narrow it down to two.

One of my two favorites was the peacock..  First because I was able to experiment with the widest variety of materials.. Second it was the biggest design challenge.  By nature peacocks are usually a linear design and I wanted one to fit on a 6" block and make a big impact..  The one thing I could do to make the body and tail seem large and dramatic was to make the head very small... I was able to use beads, buttons, braid, fabric, old jewelry, and cording among other things.  By far the broadest variety of materials of all the blocks..

The second favorite was an exercise in couching.  This was by far the most time consuming block but also came the closest to achieving what I set out to do...

On the other hand the block that was the most fun used the least amount of materials... but I adore whimsy.

The dragon presented the same kind of challenge as the peacock... trying to make a big impact in a small space.  I should have did the same thing I did with the peacock...make the head smaller...  I hadn't used sequins until this block and they were trotted out in force.  The trim along his spine was a particularly ugly, tacky one but when folded in half was perfect.

I'm sure as you look through the blocks you will notice the different approaches to delve into my stash of Christmas trims..and I hope you have a favorite... I love them all and learned from every one...


Life altering day!!!!

 Yesterday we decided to go to a fall festival in one of the parks as DH wanted to see the homing pigeons on display....but the exciting thing for me was the demonstration of agility training for dogs...  This is just the thing for extra fun for Morris and me....

I came home and immediately ordered a tunnel from Amazon and today on the way home from mother I'm stopping at the lumber store and getting plywood to build the ramp.. (It's hard to believe I am actually buying lumber)  Most of the other stuff I can build with things on hand...

 By spring I expect the big area by the barn to look something like this.... What great exercise for both of us... Since this activity requires me to run also, an absolute necessary piece of equipment will be a heavy-duty support bra to avoid serious bodily injury from a bouncing boob.

And of course Morris is a natural champion!!!


Progress CQJP - Morris the Mover

Not only did I get the last goldwork block finished I will get the Sept. CQJP block done on schedule...and I did work on it during my trip...

Corgis are a herding breed and Morris takes this seriously.  He is continually gathering things throughout the house and brings them to a pile the living room and guards them.. After a while he'll wander through the house again to find something else to add to his  treasures and guard again for a while... then repeat.

I deliberately chose a rather congested photo of his "stuff" and even added a few things to it... Now I am making motifs around the photo  of some of his favorites......ball, hammer, various toys, food bowl, leashes etc... for a "find them in the photo" exercise.

I am particularly pleased with the ribbon treatment around the photo...In Wichita Candace Kling had a display of such folded ribbons and I loved them but hadn't tried them yet.  I saw such a treatment on a pillow at Cathy's home and tried it on this block.  The grosgrain was really too heavy but I loved the bright yellow with white polka dots so forged ahead anyway... Cathy even had a book of folded ribbon treatments which I found online and ordered so you will see them frequently.


Tour of funky garden makeover....

Remember my poor little funky front garden whose fence was periodically destroyed by snow plows and UPS trucks and it's dismal  collapsing rear stone wall?  My goal was not only to repair the stone wall and build a new fence but also to drag in some more "yard art" from the back of the larger garden...

Well look at it now.

Yesterday we worked on the stone wall....  I say we....but I never lifted a stone...  I sat on a stool pointing to the stones I wanted and directed where each should be placed...  Hardly worked up a sweat.

We must have moved each stone at least 6 times until we ended up with a very sturdy stone structure...

I had built two little gates the Friday before I left town.... I do have antique door knobs to use as finials but haven't polished them yet.

I was also able to incorporate some more iron into the back wall which made the stone sections shorter and more stable.  The top piece of iron is from an old balcony railing and if you guessed all day, you would not think the bottom section is from an old cast iron crib.  I use the head of the crib for a gate on my veggie garden and the foot will be a trellis for a clematis...  The lavender hedge took a severe beating during the whole process but it will recoop in a year or two....

And of course now you can see that there are nine of the whimsical bunny finials.... and we are done.  I am soooooooooooo grateful for a really handy man!!!

At our house it is rhubarb pies galore in the spring but in the fall it is DH's aunt Margaret's plum tart with a sour cream custard filling... Here's a photo going into and out of the oven..... In the picture of the garden makeover you will notice a ladder under one of our five plum trees... It takes a frost for them to turn sweet...  DH picks and I bake.. What a team...(he thinks!)


"Little Thief" finished.....

Remember this piece designed by Wm Morris entitled "Strawberry Thief?"  It was my inspiration piece requested by Maire in the Fool's Gold RR.... It has many vines and leaf shapes as well as the berries and bird...  My objective was to translate it to gold work...

After much doodling and sketching I came up with this drawing...  I was heading toward a "thicket" all-over design with everything in shades of gold except the strawberries. And here is the finished piece.  I finally did get to use  the glass leaf beads from my stash.  I made them even more gold  with one of my favorite products..."Rub n Buff".  It's off to Maire now...   I'm officially done with gold now and on to other things.  What a lovely adventure it has been.....ten blocks in all.

I have to share this autumn clematis rambling up the back of the wood shed and growing into a flowering hawthorne.  Its seed heads are spectacular right now and occasionally it skips into an Oregon grape hedge and there the twain shall meet.

The flowers on this variety of clematis are insubstantial but the seed heads are the best!!!!  Don't you love it...  The dogs and I walked in the woods this morning and fall was in the air....


Close but not quite!

I know that it doesn't look like I accomplished that much at the retreat but I did work on this block a lot... You can see compared to the photo before I left... I did the large leaves on felt and then appliqued them on...these were very time consuming.  I also did the outlining of the berries and added detail and gave my bird a beak.....plus some beading.  Now there are just the glass leaves, his feet and some fine details.

I'm anxious to give my little bird legs and feet now as I loved them on the Wm Morris bird.. I hope to have it done by Friday.  Of course I got a royal and loving welcome from Morris when I got home but also my chickens started laying eggs while I was gone.  My favorite food in all the world are eggs still warm from the nest... Since they are just starting the eggs are small and a little irregular but absolutely delicious just the same..


If you can't afford a plastic surgeon...get photoshop!

My granddaughter Leigha posted this picture of me on facebook this morning.  It seems all family pictures of me are when I'm in the kitchen and this one is no exception...rhubarb pies for DH...  It's always a shock to see pictures of myself..  I never feel this old or this fat.

Obviously this one was taken early morning as I hadn't even brushed my hair...  So I popped this old girl into photoshop for a makeover..

Of course the first issue is that double chin..and then some radical cropping to trim me up a bit. Then just a bit of a tummy tuck...  Looking better!

Well since I've gone this far why not a boob job and more of a tummy tuck...  Then I can slim up the sagging arm...  Finally that hair.... a trim..even out the color and get it out of my eyes...

Oh well, in my dreams.... Love ya Leigha!!!!


My past called me and the best part is......

About a month ago the phone rang and a lady asked "Are you the Gerry Krueger whose garden benches were featured in Better Homes and Gardens in 2003?"  I assured her I was the very same Gerry Krueger... Well she said... her sister's 50th birthday was soon and she still had the article and  wanted to make her sister a bench like mine as a special surprise and did I have a plan she could use... I knew I had a copy of the plan on a floppy disc somewhere (remember floppy discs?) and I would look...  Well I found a copy and emailed it off to her.

Just a bit about the benches.... After the first season we were open to the public I discovered people stayed and shopped longer if they had somewhere to sit and rest in the garden... So I set out to build a dozen benches that winter...  Wood was no problem as we had torn down the old wood corral and all the milking and horse stalls in the barn.  What I needed was a plan that was SIMPLE and would be strong and forgiving with old lumber.  No fancy joinery and it was put together with heavy duty lag bolts and lag screws.

The key element to my plan was the end section.  It was simple and identical in every single bench.  The only difference between the benches was the back section which I varied from bench to bench.  I built twenty four end sections and twelve backs that winter and in the spring I added seats and just bolted them together.  I added 10-12 each year over the next couple winters.

In 2001 my rose garden was featured in Better Homes and Gardens and the photographer fell in love with all the benches and asked if they could come back and do another feature just on the benches....which they did in 2003.

So I was so touched that Connie G. had not only kept that article all those years, she had also taken the time to track me down nine years later.  And she did indeed build a bench for her sister's birthday and yesterday sent me a picture of her beautiful bench.  AND THE BEST PART??????  She built this bench with old lumber from her grandmother's chicken coop...  Now you know I was doing a happy dance all over the garden all day...  Thank you Connie for sending the picture and remembering the article...

And just in case any of you out there are thinking of a simple bench for your garden...here is my plan for the end pieces....then just send me a picture.  Remember... no wimpy nails... Lag screws and lag bolts.


The strawberry thief....

Where I'm at..... the vines are all stitched down and I am satin stitching the berries at the moment... I modified my larger leaves and cut them out of paper to test the positioning...

This is where I'm headed.  There will be lots of smaller leaves, stems, and curly things to fill in... The plan is to use gold glass leaves as I haven't used them yet on a single goldwork block... I will be lucky to get all the berries done before I leave so will work on the large leaves at the retreat to finish it...


Sneak Preview of Funky Fence Progress

I had my dandy, handy helper come two extra days so we could finish the hardest part of the fence before I leave for SLC next Monday.  I think we might make it... close anyway.  These are the fancy finials for the posts.

The object was to build this fence with things on hand and I certainly have...Of course the 4x4s were salvaged from all the things we disassembled this summer.   And the black base is my  "super tip" of the day" ..  One of the things I've always watched for in antique and thrift stores are mismatched orphan leaves from dining room tables.  There are often piles of them in old stores and they are real wood and dirt cheap...  Most often pine with a veneer of some sort but I have scored some really fine pieces of wood also..  But if you're going to paint it, who cares...  I have used these orphan table leaves to build all kinds of things... especially shelves.  Today they are the black bases for my finials..

I did buy the wood caps... one of the two purchases I've made.

The little rusty rabbits came from a lath deer fence on the NW corner of garden.  They were interspersed with extra tall pieces of lath to add some whimsy.  I still have some other rusty rabbit yard art left out there..

Through the years I have used metal bedsteads for gates everywhere.  This one was a wrapped with chicken wire and used as a gate in the small lamb pasture for about 10 years.  It is not real brass or even brass plated so I had no regrets about cutting it up to salvage the ceramic pieces.  I have always wanted to use them in something but the right project never appeared until now..  I was a couple short but I used plain ceramic knobs in their place...  I was amazed that this bedstead has been exposed to the elements all these years and the little decals are still so delightful.

I didn't have enough for the new gate posts but as luck is on my side with this project,  I found 5 more antique brass door knobs in the barn that will be perfect for the gate posts....  I will start on the gates Friday...


The "Before" picture of my funky front garden.

All summer I've had help on Thursday mornings and exceptional help at that..  Scott works hard, is intelligent and does what I want done...no matter what.  He only comes for 3 hours once a week but the list of what we've accomplished this summer is huge. We've put up new fence where needed, taken down unneeded fence, dismantled lambing pens and sheep shelters, sprayed, weeded, transplanted, pruned, raccoon proofed the chicken house, built the porch railing and dismantled the old lath rose area...and that just names  part of the list...

Now we begin something I never dreamt we'd get to this year... my front garden...which is a disaster.  When the main garden was in it's heyday and was open to the public, I had nothing planted here near the house for security reasons.. When I started this small bed by the door I surrounded it with a precious 2' picket fence... which the UPS and snow plows destroyed TWICE.  Then I surrounded it with a 2' wire fence to keep the rabbits out but it too has been mangled..

So the problem...  I need a fence to keep the rabbits out... but it also has to be tall enough for people (including the UPS truck) to see in their rear view mirrors when they turn around but not too tall or it would overwhelm this small garden. It has to be FREE because I can't spend any money on it.. And it has to be sturdy enough to withstand an occasional person backing into it.. which they will.

Luckily I have this pile of wood left from things we dismantled this summer..  Most of it I'll cut up for fire wood but there's plenty to choose from to build a fence.  We've already pulled all the 4x4s from the pile.

The little garden is already funky with odd treasures I've gathered in from the larger garden but there is still a lot out there....bedsteads, farm equipment, yard art, plus tons of other fun rusty junk... I'll gather in even more stuff.. I just love anything covered with rust, moss, or aged to a silvery grey.

I'm even hoping we can get to the rock wall at the back of it which needs to be redone.  We should have at least 4-5 more weeks of weather decent enough to work outside.  He even may be able to spare me a few more hours also...maybe

I should add I'm not the easiest woman for a man to work for... when I want something done it's not open for discussion.... Not only do I want it done..... I want it done my way...
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